Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday unveiled her labor policies in Taipei, saying her administration would adopt an employment-oriented economic policy to create jobs and protect workers if she is elected next month.
Tsai took time off from a five-day tour of southwestern coastal areas and returned to Taipei for the press conference, during which she presented her four-point labor policy.
The priority of her administration would be finding solutions to unemployment, furloughs and part-time jobs amid the possibility of a second wave of the global economic crisis.
Tsai proposed an unemployment subsidy for young people who are first-time job seekers, who account for about 21 percent of the unemployed.
Under her plan, first-time job seekers under 29 years old who remain unemployed for six months would qualify for a six-month subsidy.
The second task would be to ensure that unemployed individuals receive the government subsidies, she said, as less than one in 14 unemployed people, or 7.15 percent, received it last year.
The third measure would be to provide workers who are forced into furloughs with short-term subsidies.
However, the subsidy would be an “advance payment” from the government and corporations would have to reimburse it from the worker’s salary after he or she returns to work, Tsai said.
No furlough should be implemented without prior negotiation between management and representatives of the workers, she said.
The working conditions and rights of part-time workers should be improved and protected, Tsai said, adding that government agencies should not hire part-time workers.
The number of part-time workers increased from 76,000 in 2007 to 353,000 last year, among them 15,000 hired by government agencies, statistics provided by the DPP showed.
The increase in the number of part-time jobs has been one of the primary reasons for worsening job security and salary decreases, creating more “working poor,” she said.
Tsai also called for an amendment to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) to ensure part-time workers enjoy the same rights as full-time employees.
The proposals are being made in light of the rapid changes in the global economic situation, said Tsai, who will face President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and James Soong (宋楚瑜) of the People First Party in the Jan. 14 presidential election.
Additional reporting by CNA